The kids are going back to school! In some cases, Mom or Dad is there to greet them when they get home. In other cases, older children are expected to unlock the house by themselves in and be alone or watch siblings for a few hours. Going back to school is an excellent time for them to implement some structure into their routine. Today we’re going to talk about ways to make their time at home alone more secure.
Most children do not have the essential skills to manage being home by themselves without some guidance and instruction. Teach your children how to lock doors and windows carefully after they enter. It’s easy to check the garage door to make sure it didn’t reverse. Teach them to arm and disarm the alarm, and what to do if it goes off (Tip: a child standing beside a ringing alarm can’t be heard over the phone!)
The bottom line is that everything you want your child to be able to do has to be explained and, with many children, walked through several times to make sure they can do it. Regardless of how confident they are, having them do it creates a body memory. If something happens and they’re frightened or upset, the body memory is in place to help them navigate what they need to do to help.
Every child should have tools to keep them safe and that they can use when they feel like they need help. Some options might include a chore list, a cell phone, a list of emergency phone numbers, etc. You and your child will need to discuss which of these apply to your situation.
A code word is beneficial for times you can’t get to your child, but he needs to be able to trust the person you send. It can be an odd but memorable word, such as ‘pickles.’ If the person knows the code word, the child knows you sent him. You’d be surprised how many times it will come in handy.
Support is the network of people your child surrounds himself with to navigate his life. These include friends he walks to school with, people he can call in an emergency, relatives, and friends who are nearby, and others. Your child must have ‘someone’ besides you, preferably several ‘someones’ if the need arises.
If the child notices anything amiss when they arrive home, such as an unlocked door, a broken or open window, or an act of vandalism, tell them they should not enter the home alone. The same applies if there is a bat, snake, roof rat, or another strange animal in the house. Tell them to call for help.
For the parents
Parents should be meticulously careful to keep their end of the safety bargain. Start by locking up all alcohol, tobacco, poison, medications, and firearms. If you need a safe, buy one! Do not leave a key to the motorcycle or spare car where your child can find it. Communicate with your child often. If you still have concerns, add a nanny cam to your home so you can check on a moments notice.
Show your child how to shut off the water main, how to shut off an overflowing toilet, and the location/operation of the fuse box.
As always, use good judgment when deciding if a child is ready to be left alone. Some children are thoughtful, wise, and have a cool head in an emergency. Others aren’t ready, even when they’re older. But, a child who is left alone has the opportunity to learn self-reliance and confidence, skills which will serve him well in life.
As always, if you need your locks rekeyed or repaired, give us a call!
Kwikpick Lock and Safe offers FREE lockout service for children or pets. If you need locksmith services for your Surprise, El Mirage, or Phoenix home or auto, call today! Bill 623-300-1889.